Some of you maybe already know me from my wine blog, now I’m beginning another one. But this will be somehow different from thousands of others, as here only the articles about great Georgian wines and Georgian wine history will take place.
Georgia - country located at juncture of Europe and Asia. Since very long the interest towards the country was great. Some of the reasons were its rich culture, traditions, history and the fact that name Georgia is associated to "wine". The wine history counts thousand years in Georgia. Vine was the inseparable for Georgian people and they often identify vine as "Georgia", their motherland.
Wine producing was the only revenue for peasants during years. Many different stories and writings tell us and describe how Georgian peasants were looking after vine and their vineyards, how much love they put in their work. For Georgians vine is like child. Looking after their vineyards is compared to child caring in many different stories and poems. If you ask peasant about the meaning of vineyard, many of them will tell you, that it's his child or even an attorney. For centuries different conquers have been trying to destroy the culture of vine in the country and annihilate the whole nation this way, but if you look through the Alazani Valley vineyards are situated over hundreds of hectares proudly. We can mention here that fact, that during the reign of Shah-Abas Georgians had to pay wine as contribution to Iran. This drink was known as the paradise liquid in Iran. The love of vine had increased by the fact when Saint Nino, the enlighten of Georgians entered the country handling the cross made of the vine and she christened Georgians by this vine cross. This fact made stronger connection between Christianity and wine culture. And the vine cross has become the symbol of Christian faith in Georgian people. Long since the first toast on Georgian's dinner is to God. With divine drink they bless and thank God for the favour and mercy.
Since olden times Georgians had exceptional shaped and sized original wine vessels for drinking, among them the most original is horn. It is made from aurochs' horn. Georgians use it as an exceptional "glass" usually on holiday feasts.
Besides this, a great interest of foreigners is attracted by Georgian Qvevri - a big vessel made from clay. It is used for wine-making. Georgians use it for fermenting and aging wine. After keeping grape juice in Qvevri, wine-makers bury Qvevri in the ground. This wine making method is used even today in this country. Wine made using Qvevri deserves high evaluation and rating from wine makers and experts in this field.
Today different types of wine vessels discovered after archeological dig are kept in Georgian museums.
French traveler Sharden, who visited Georgia in 17th century, describes that he had never tasted wine like Georgian and had never seen such huge amounts of wine unless this country.
Some linguists assume that the word ''wine'' is derived from the Georgian word ''ghvino''.
Wine Grape Varieties
Among world known thousands of grape types 500 variety has Georgian origin. The main wine regions are Kakheti, Qartli, Imereti, Racha-lechkhumi, Qvemo-Svaneti. These regions are divided into several micro zones, such as Mukuzani, Tsinandali, Manavi, Kvareli. The names of grape varieties derive from the names of these micro zones.
From these 500 varieties we can name today's most popular and demanded ones in Georgia as well as in other wine producing countries.
- Saperavi - dark red, one of the best of Georgian black vine varieties. Sugar contents and paint a precious grape variety. Wine made from Saperavi is distinguished with its flavor, and strong color. It's also used for improving and highlighting other ones. Saperavi is used for making semi-sweet table wines. According to the aging wines made from this variety are: "Saperavi" (one year), "Kindzmarauli" (two years) and "Mukuzani" (three and above). Productivity is 80-120 ton/ ha.
- Rkatsiteli - frost resistant varieties, with long ripening maturity, leaves are medium, roundish, with three - five lobes, bunch of grapes are medium sized or large, cylindric. Productivity is about 60-150 centers/ha (6-15 tons per ha).
Other grape varieties will be added later meanwhile.
Georgian Wine Types
The Georgian wine culture is about 7000 years old. Wines from this country attract the attention and deserve the sympathy of not only Georgians but also of every foreigners who have the opportunity to taste at least one from many different varieties.Georgians have the red as well as white varieties. According to quality we can classify them as table, vintage and collection wines.
Some of the well-known and popular varieties should be mentioned here. The names come from the grape names it is made from.
- Saperavi -ordinary red wine with intense, viscous pomegranate color. It has distinctive taste and pleasant astringency. This wine is popular in its native country, and outside its borders.
- Tsinandali - king of dry white wines. Light straw-colored wine has the fruit aroma and full, refined taste.
- Khvanchkara - naturally semi sweet red wine, with elegant dark strawberry color. It has strong aroma and harmonious velvety taste of raspberry.
- Mukuzani - one of the best red wine with dark ruby color, complex bouquet, soft, velvety and harmonious taste.
Georgian cuisine which is one of the richest in the world, is distinguished with its specific features. All regions of the country have its own food that are different from each other. But today food from different regions is spread widely all over the country. Georgian cuisine is popular among foreigners for a long time.
Georgian wine and food has the great importance on Georgian feast. Maybe it's difficult to see such generous feast with plenty of different delicious food other than Georgia.
From the many different types and kinds we can distinguish foods like:
- Khachapuri - bread baked with wheat pastry and cheese.
- Khinkali - dumplings filled with pork or beef seasoned with relish.
- Satsivi -made with boiled chicken or turkey seasoned with nuts and garlic.
If you have ever been in Georgia, sure, you had gained the notion of hospitality of this people. Foreigners describe our nation as the most hospitable and generous people in the world. You can't live the country without having dinner with your hosts. Georgians respect all their guests too much and they express the respect and hospitality by inviting them on the traditional Georgian feast. For centuries Georgian people protect the feast traditions strictly. Tamada, the toastmaster and toasts are the essential part of the dinner. They have some special toasts that must be drunk during dinner. And you will be toasted by your hosts.